We cannot be afraid to take a stance on these things because we might be worried that it looks like a Jack Cafferty diatribe on CNN. That is not the case this time. There are things that go too far. Do violent video games lead to real violence? Maybe they do not, but they de-sensitize people to violence. To take violence even further - if that were possible - this game involves adult men raping a young student on a subway platform. This is beyond wrong…it is sad. It is sad that that there are freaks who put hours and hours into writing graphics and language in order to create a game like this.
It is sad that the entire nation of Japan probably gets a bad rap for this because it is spawned from the cultural anime (adult-skewed animation) in Japan. Japanese animation can be racy and sexist, but you only see that when you go looking for it. A game that centers on adult men raping a young girl is offensive on multiple grounds. The act itself is reprehensible, but it apparently echoes a common theme in Japanese subways, where groping women is relatively common.
Women-only subway cars have been an experiment to keep female riders from being harassed. Remember that this is Japan, and culturally the women there tend to be relatively patient and non confrontational. A survey in 2005 (referenced in Slate magazine and ABC News) claims that 64 percent of female Japanese subway riders have experienced some kind of harassment, so there is good reason to believe that this is a big problem in Japan.
Calling it a “game” is another sad part of this story. People competing, or teaming up, to rape someone as part of a game suggests that there is entertainment value to this. It makes one remember April 19, 1989, when a jogger in Central Park was brutally raped by a gang of uncivilized thugs that later said they were on a “wilding” spree. Wilding was what they did as a group - just an activity, something to do. It was a game to them. We should not be afraid to take a hard line here, and make sure that kids, or people that we know, are not involved in gaming like this.
So, thank you Christine Quinn. Even though this is not a difficult stance to take, it is society’s job to concentrate more on making a product like this wrong in the eyes of gamers. Game producers know that when there is protest against a product or a movie, it tends to increase curiosity, which leads to sales. In this case, popular culture needs to take on popular culture, and hopefully the right voices will step up.
This is one of those times when it’s okay to see what your kids are doing on the computer. If game producers are not worried about going too far, neither should you.
Ann Margaret Calls It Quits
Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza has decided not run for re-election in the 26th Assembly District. Now batting: every candidate that wanted to run against Dan Halloran last year. When speaking to Republican Vincent Tabone earlier this year, I asked Tabone if he thought he really had a chance to win this seat. He cited a few reasons why his candidacy had the “street cred” to get him elected in November. You hear answers like that with all challengers, but now Tabone looks like he can win this seat. Look for some serious candidates to come out of the woodwork, though.